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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on April 3, 2006 5:47 PM. The previous post in this blog was The next "linchpin". The next post in this blog is I may have been poisoned by Dagoba Chocolate. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Monday, April 3, 2006

The dime has been dropped

Portland officials today called in the city's police department to investigate potential fraud in the city's new "voter-owned elections" system -- taxpayer financing of political campaigns. I can't find the official announcement anywhere, but stories are here and here.

So in the end, with three races eligible for the tax funding, only four candidates turned in the paperwork to qualify, and now two of their campaigns are under investigation for apparent falsification of signatures. Of the other two, one is the incumbent who's the architect of the system.

Somehow I'm not smelling that fresh air we were supposed to be getting out of all this.

Comments (24)

If you can't take their money, screw their women, and still vote against them in the morning...

Don't throw the baby out with the (Dirty Money) water.

They had a hard time enforcing prohibition for the first couple of years too.

Voter owned elections have to (perp) walk,
before they can run.

Somehow I'm not smelling that fresh air we were supposed to be getting out of all this.

Which would have been the same thing some people (Phil Stanford, I'm staring at you) would have said if the actual predictions of opponents had come true, and we had a glut of wingnut stunt candidates (Phil Stanford, I"m staring at you) all getting public money. So, whatever. ;)

bIX: the wingnuts will be in the next election cycle. Word of VOE is still trickling out to the hardcore wingnut community. Many of them are still awaiting parole, expiration on the statute of limitations, maintenance dosages, etc.

I think I should attribute the first quote (above) in its accurate entirety:

But among pols of the old school, the saying was, "If you can't take their money, drink their whiskey, screw their women and vote against 'em anyway, you don't belong in the Legislature."

http://www.freepress.org/columns/display/1/2005/1092

C'mon Jack... the other candidate is the one you endorsed today.

Without VOE, Amanda Fritz would have raised, oh maybe $60,000 to $150,000. Dan Saltzman would have raised something like $400,000 to $500,000.

Instead, Amanda gets $150k. Dan limits himself to $150k. He may yet lose this race -- having voted to unilaterally disarm. Now that's courage.

[Disclaimer: I built Dan's website, but I don't speak for him or his campaign.]

Hey, at least it'll be a lot cheaper than you feared. (This year, anyway.)

Without VOE, Amanda Fritz would have raised, oh maybe $60,000 to $150,000. Dan Saltzman would have raised something like $400,000 to $500,000.

Fritz herself admits she would have run anyway. It's not clear how much she would have raised or spent, or whether her level of spending would have affected the outcome.

And Sten would have had to work his a*s off raising money.

And no one would have stolen anything.

Enjoy the brief life of "clean money." Portland will be the place where it was tried and failed. The Sten version.

[Aside: Don't forget to mention that you're working for him too.]

I sense that the bloodletting of Portland has begun in earnest. Such a shame to see a wonderful old city go down the tubes....

"It's not clear how much she would have raised or spent, or whether her level of spending would have affected the outcome."

Ha, yeah right. Did your predictive powers suddenly disappear for that one?

No one can say for certain, but I think we all have quite a hunch

[Aside: Don't forget to mention that you're working for him too.]

Sorry for the threadjack. Two thing that always strike me about about Mandate Media: (1) their websites look are virtually identical in layout, and (2) Mandate's logo looks suspiciously like John "Hates Celery" Kerry rockin' the mike. As the kids say, check it: http://tinyurl.com/p37re

i think that Saltzman is going to face a much tougher race than if VOE money hadn't been available to candidate Fritz. i'm not saying she couldn't have raised money without it, but it certainly has helped to even the odds and it's made a more interesting (and competitive) race.

Like I say, enjoy it while it lasts.

The expensive litigation is going to be fun to watch, too. I wonder how much the detectives are going to cost us, plus the prosecutors, the judges...

One classic twist in the Clean Elections in Maine: The fund for the potential candidates was raided by politicians for other budget matters, and now there is concern about whether they'll pay the money back.

FYI we just got back from the candidates forum sponsored by SWINI and Neighbors West/NW. Both Emily Boyles and Lucinda Tate were no shows.

They're done, and they know it. It'll be interesting to see what the police turn up.

I don't know what Lucinda and Emilie are going to do, but I would HAVE to guess they'll give up the funds if wrongdoing is found or if public opinion gets too hot.

I know I would, and I think Emilie and Lucinda are at least as honorable as I am. (And by at least, I mean, way more). :)

Why ruin your political career on your first whirl round the big dance floor?

As long as Portland's finest are available to investigate political crimes, why don't they take a look at the PDC or the Tram's ever expanding budget?

We have been given the opportunity to evaluate the capacity of the candidates running under Voter Owned Elections to understand, manage and operate a narrowly defined set of regulations, including their abilitiy to evaluate and supervise their associates.

It is also an opportunity to evaluate VOE. This means we have to be careful to distinguish between its design issues and flaws in its implementation.

Any new regulation requires an adjustment period, but it also requires an earnest and competent effort by the City to implement and police it properly. The design is, on paper, unforgiving of error or fraud on the part of a candidate attempting to qualify, as any bad signature disqualifies that candidate.

Alas, the City’s poor initial implementation, as evidenced by the lack of a protocol for recovering misappropriated funds after their disbursal (setting aside the apparent unwillingness to take responsibility to do so), subverts the regulatory intent. It also gives ammunition to critics and cynics calling for an end to the discussion of how to improve the regulation, including whether the rules are too unforgiving of innocent error.

If we are ever to reclaim the electoral process from the moneyed interests, it is essential that the review of VOE results in a stronger version of reform, and not in its abandonment.

Alice,

"Sure, she can spend it, understanding that there is a risk," Blackmer said. "If something is found wrong, of course, she'll have to pay it all back."

Think KiwiWit and their continued spending of their fund.

Yes, demand consistency.

I would HAVE to guess they'll give up the funds if wrongdoing is found or if public opinion gets too hot.

A nice thought. But what of the fees already paid to Vladimir Golovan? I'll be very curious to see how big those checks were and whether the city can recoup those costs. What do you want to bet Boyles and Tate will be on the hook and Vlad skates? Tony Uncle Johnny would be proud.

According to Phil Stanford, it's $7,000 for the 1,000 signatures. Wonder if that was up front or after the city's check was cashed. How much more does Golvan get as a consultant to each campaign? I'm sure that given his contacts in state government, it's money well spent.

Gosh, you're right. Try a system once and declare judgement on it. I don't know how many people (esp. women) would have sex again after their first time, which probably wasn't very enjoyable. At least, most people think that some things get better with practice and time.

It's much more enjoyable if you ask your partner (here, the city's voters) for consent (approval of the system at the polls) first.

*SNORT* {milk through nose}


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